914 F2d 262 Kouyoumdjian v. Louis W Sullivan

914 F.2d 262

Unpublished Disposition

NOTICE: Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3 provides that dispositions other than opinions or orders designated for publication are not precedential and should not be cited except when relevant under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, or collateral estoppel.

Krikor KOUYOUMDJIAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
LOUIS W. SULLIVAN, M.D.,* Secretary of Health
and Human Services Defendant-Appellee.

No. 89-55208.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Argued April 11, 1990.
Submitted April 25, 1990.
Decided Sept. 10, 1990.

Before GOODWIN, Chief Judge, TANG and BOOCHEVER, Circuit Judges.




Krikor Kouyoumdjian seeks review of the district court's denial of his disability claim. We affirm.


1. Physical Impairments


Kouyoumdjian contends that medical problems with his heart, back, and vision are of sufficient severity to qualify him as disabled and entitled to benefits under the Social Security Act. We conclude that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's conclusion. A. Heart Problems


All ECG, EKG, and treadmill tests administered to Kouyoumdjian yielded normal results. The treating physician deemed the only abnormality appearing on any of the tests, a left anterior superior hemiblock, of "only moderate importance." Another doctor concluded Kouyoumdjian had angina pectoris, but three other doctors came to the opposite conclusion. Given the conflict in the evidence, the ALJ was entitled to discredit the doctor's report which suggested a disabling condition. See Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir.1989).


Another physician believed that Kouyoumdjian exhibited "acute coronary insufficiency." However, he failed to support his opinion with objective medical findings and therefore the ALJ could properly discount this report. See Burkhart v. Bowen, 856 F.2d 1335, 1339-40 (9th Cir.1988).

B. Back Problems


X-rays of Kouyoumdjian's spine were normal, with only "mild degenerative changes," and none of Kouyoumdjian's treating physicians suggested that the lower back pain he claims he experiences significantly limits his occupational capabilities.

C. Vision Problems


One opthalmologist suggested Kouyoumdjian might have trouble performing "sustained close work." However, another opthalmologist found Kouyoumdjian's eye problems remediable with a change in eyeglass prescription. The ALJ was entitled to resolve this conflict in the evidence with a finding that Kouyoumdjian's vision problems would not prevent him from returning to his previous work.

2 Mental Impairments


Kouyoumdjian also claims he suffers from disabling mental impairments.


Kouyoumdjian's treating physician found Kouyoumidjian to be well-oriented in all spheres, without hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or delusions, and possessed of average intellect, good insight, and judgment. The treating physician did conclude that Kouyoumdjian was suffering from depressive neurosis and generalized anxiety disorder. Nevertheless, he considered Kouyoumdjian's response to medication "fairly good" and emphasized that these problems had not prevented Kouyoumdjian from working when he lived in the USSR. By contrast, the three consulting psychiatrists concluded Kouyoumdjian (1) suffered from severe depression; (2) had experienced a large drop in I.Q.; and (3) exhibited signs of schizophrenia.


Given this conflict of opinions, we cannot fault the ALJ for relying upon the diagnosis of the treating physician. We accord "special weight" to the medical opinions of the treating physician. Embrey v. Bowen, 849 F.2d 418, 421 (9th Cir.1988).1

3. Excess Pain Testimony


Kouyoumdjian also argues that the Secretary improperly evaluated Kouyoumdjian's excess pain testimony.


Kouyoumdjian testified to suffering severe pain throughout his body. The ALJ made explicit findings to support his decision to discredit Kouyoumdjian's excess pain testimony, and the record supports those findings.

4 Aggregate Effect of Impairments


Kouyoumdjian maintains that the ALJ failed to consider the combined effect of Kouyoumdjain's alleged impairments in making his disability determination. The ALJ's specific findings explicitly conclude that Kouyoumdjian failed to establish "an impairment or combination of impairments" of disabling severity.




Sullivan, Secretary of Health and Human Services, has been substituted for Otis R. Bowen. See Fed.R.App.P. 43(c)(1)


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-31 While we agree with Kouyoumdjian that the consulting psychiatrists provided more detailed reports than his treating physician, we cannot say that the treating physician's reports were so faulty as to warrant disregarding them. Burhkart, 856 F.2d at 1339-40 (even treating physician's conclusions can be disregarded if unsupported).